Nice link Zorpa!
Btw. Did anyone take a look at Jupiter last night? It looked quite spectacular with it's moons Callisto, Ganymede and Io draped to one side!
Nice link Zorpa!
Btw. Did anyone take a look at Jupiter last night? It looked quite spectacular with it's moons Callisto, Ganymede and Io draped to one side!
No. I must take my telescope out and give it a good clean.Did anyone take a look at Jupiter last night?
Nice high rez wallpaper of the horse head nebula!
Horse Head Nebula (2560x1600)
It's amazing that a probe designed to operate for 90 days has been driving on Mars for almost 8 years. The people at JPL must still be very proud of their rovers.During the three-year trek of NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater, rover planners captured a horizon photograph at the end of each drive. 309 images taken during the 13-mile journey appear in this video.
Also, this is very very interesting. I remember readinbg about a possible water flow near the South Pole a year or so back, but I didn't know that those phenomena is this common:
Last edited by Mic; 13-10-2011 at 08:43 AM.
Firstly some good news:
Russia aims for Mars
I hope this comes to fruition. With the Chinese finances behind this, and probably some motivation for the Russians and Chinese to get one up against the US, I think this could work. Exiting times ahead.Moscow - Russia on Wednesday launches a probe for Mars that aims to collect a chunk of a Martian moon and become Moscow's first successful planetary mission since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Phobos-Grunt probe is to blast off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a Zenit-2SB rocket at 00:16 Moscow time (20:16 GMT Tuesday), Russia's space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.
Russia hopes the mission will mark a triumphant return to interplanetary exploration, a field from which it has been entirely absent over the last decades even as US probes explored the farthest reaches of the solar system.
If successful, Phobos-Grunt will also help erase the memory of one of Russia's worst ever space failures, when its Mars-96 probe bound for the Red Planet failed to reach orbit and crashed into the ocean in 1996.
Russia is desperate to show it remains a superpower in space exploration and is still inspired by the daring spirit of first man in space Yuri Gagarin, in the year it celebrated the 50th anniversary of his historic voyage.
"If Phobos-Grunt fully carries out its mission, then this will be a world class achievement," said Igor Lisov, editor-in-chief of the specialist journal Novosti Kosmonavtiki [Space News].
"The problem with Russian space exploration has been that people have forgotten the taste of victory. The task of this mission is to restore confidence in our abilities and the importance of the task," he told AFP.
The voyage also comes as the world's space powers are showing renewed interest in the possibility of sending a man to Mars in the next decades, possibly in the 2030s.
Last week six men emerged from 520 days in isolation in Moscow after an unprecedented experiment that attempted to test the psychological and physiological effects of a return trip to Mars.
But even in the heyday of Soviet space exploration, Moscow had little luck with Mars. It sent a number of failed missions as Nasa enjoyed great success with its Mariner and Viking probes, the latter of which landed on the Red Planet.
The Soviet Union sent its last probes to Mars - both named Phobos - in the late 1980s. But the first failed to reach a Martian orbit and the second failed when contact was lost shortly after its arrival.
Most humiliating was the failure of the ambitious Mars-96 probe in November 1996 which broke up over the Pacific Ocean in a disaster that appeared to symbolise the disintegration of the Russian space programme at the time.
The main aim of the Phobos-Grunt mission is to bring back the first ever soil sample from Phobos, the larger of Mars' two moons [the other is called Deimos].
In a landmark space co-operation between Moscow and Beijing, the probe is also expected to deploy a Chinese satellite, Yinghuo-1, which will go into orbit around Mars and observe the planet itself.
If all goes to plan, Phobos-Grunt should reach Mars in 2012 and then deploy its lander for Phobos in 2013 before returning the sample back to Earth in August 2014.
Phobos, which orbits Mars at a radius of just under 10 000km, is believed to be the closest moon to its planet anywhere in the solar system and scientists hope it will reveal secrets about the origins of the planets.
The probe is carrying numerous international experiments including a capsule of microbes prepared by the US Planetary Society to see if basic life forms can survive on a long mission in deep space.
Phobos-Grunt was to have been launched in 2009 but the date was put back until 2011, the soonest possible launch window when the planet's relative proximity to Earth makes a voyage feasible.
And for something cool:
How to get a peek at 2005 YU55 as it zips close to Earth
I hope someone takes pictures.Skywatchers hoping to glimpse a huge asteroid as it flies close by Earth Tuesday will need the right equipment — and a little bit of luck — to spot the faint and fast-moving space rock in telescopes, scientists say.
The interloping space rock, called asteroid 2005 YU55, will pass between Earth and the orbit of the moon on Tuesday, but does not pose a threat to our planet, NASA scientists have said. The asteroid is about the size of an aircraft carrier, spanning about 1,300 feet (400 meters), and is the largest space rock to have a close encounter with Earth with advance notice in 35 years.
Last edited by echo; 08-11-2011 at 12:12 PM.
Phobos-Grunt off course
Al JazeeraAn unmanned Russian spacecraft on a mission to one of Mars' moons has failed to take its proper course after launch, the Interfax news agency has quoted the head of the Russian space agency Roskosmos as saying.
Vladimir Popovkin, the chief of the space agency, said on Wednesday that an engine failed to fire on the Phobos-Grunt probe after it had reached Earth orbit.
He said the ignition failures were likely due to a failure of the craft's orientation system.
The craft was on a mission to bring back soil samples from Phobos, one of Mars' moons.
In a forum on the mission's official website, Anton Ledkov, an official with the Russian Space Research Institute, said that there was no telemetry being received from the spacecraft.
However, Popovkin said that scientists were still in contact with it, and had three days to set it back on course before its batteries ran out, Interfax reported.
"The engine did not fire, neither the first nor the second burn occurred. This means that the craft was unable to find its bearings by the stars," the agency quoted him as saying.
The craft was launched at 20:16 GMT on Tuesday from a Russian-leased cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Russia's federal space agency said the craft separated successfully from the booster about 11 minutes later.
It was to take the robotic probe a few hours to conduct a series of preliminary manoeuvres before it could head towards Mars.
The return vehicle was to carry up to 200 grams of soil from Phobos back to Earth in August 2014.
The $170 million mission was to be Russia's first interplanetary endeavour since the Soviet era. A previous robotic mission to Mars in 1996 ended in failure after the probe crashed into the Pacific following an engine failure.
This latest mission was originally scheduled to take place in October 2009, but was postponed after there were delays getting the probe ready.
The 13.2 tonne spacecraft is the heaviest interplanetary probe ever launched. Fuel accounts for most of the weight of the craft, which was manufactured at the Moscow-based NPO Lavochkin.
The same company had designed the craft that failed in 1996, and two of its probes launched to Phobos in 1988 also failed. One was lost a few months after launch due to an operator's mistake, and contact was lost with its twin while it was orbiting Mars.
Viktor Khartov, NPO Lavochkin's chief, described the current mission as essential to maintain the nation's technological expertise in robotic missions to other planets.
"This is practically the last chance for the people who participated in the previous project to share their experience with the next generation, to preserve the continuity," Khartov said before the launch, according to Interfax.
Damn. I hope they manage to salvage this probe. Russia has an excellent manned presence in low earth orbit, but if they can't send probes to other planets, how can they even start to plan on sending humans there?
So I setup my telescope and gazed away. I did not see anything out of the ordinary. I really wished that it would collide with the moon and I would see it explode.I would've loved to be able to, but apparently it won't be nearly visible enough in the Southern Hemisphere :(
Time Lapse View from Space
It's not really astronomy but I like this picture:
I have one question though, without fancy camera equipment, would I be able to see the Milky way like that somewhere on earth?
Probably Sutherland, just take warm clothes :pI have one question though, without fancy camera equipment, would I be able to see the Milky way like that somewhere on earth?
Thanks God. I wasn't planning on freezing my ass of any time soon. Maybe it's with a super lens that can take pictures of a light spectrum we can't see.
Check this out!
Grandmother, what a big picture this is!
All the better detail M'dear
The air is certainly thick enough to fill a parachute. On May 25th, 2008, the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this dramatic oblique image of the arrival of its sister probe from NASA, the Phoenix Lander, descending on its parachute. Phoenix and its parachute can be barely seen in the larger image with 10 km wide crater informally called "Heimdall" in the background. Although it appears that Phoenix is descending into the crater, it is actually about 20 kilometers in front of the crater. Given the position and pointing angle of MRO, Phoenix is at about 13 km above the surface, just a few seconds after the parachute opened.
That is a beautiful picture.
Now check this picture-
Too much nice :)About This Image
A bow shock is created in space when two streams of gas collide. The young star LL Ori Emits a solar wind, a stream of charged particles moving rapidly outward from the star. The material in the wind collides with the gas evaporating away from the center of the Orion Nebula, creating the crescent-shaped collision area in the image.
This gives me a proud:
Sauce.NASA Launches Most Capable and Robust Rover to Explore Mars
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA began a historic voyage to Mars with the Nov. 26 launch of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which carries a car-sized rover named Curiosity. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard an Atlas V rocket occurred at 10:02 a.m. EST.
"We are very excited about sending the world's most advanced scientific laboratory to Mars," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "MSL will tell us critical things we need to know about Mars, and while it advances science, we'll be working on the capabilities for a human mission to the Red Planet and to other destinations where we've never been."
The mission will pioneer precision landing technology and a sky-crane touchdown to place Curiosity near the foot of a mountain inside Gale Crater on Aug. 6, 2012. During a nearly two-year prime mission after landing, the rover will investigate whether the region has ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life.
"The launch vehicle has given us a great injection into our trajectory, and we're on our way to Mars," said MSL Project Manager Peter Theisinger of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. "The spacecraft is in communication, thermally stable and power positive."
The Atlas V initially lofted the spacecraft into Earth orbit and then, with a second burst from the vehicle's upper stage, pushed it out of Earth orbit into a 352-million-mile (567-million-kilometer) journey to Mars.
"Our first trajectory correction maneuver will be in about two weeks," Theisinger said. "We'll do instrument checkouts in the next several weeks and continue with thorough preparations for the landing on Mars and operations on the surface."
Curiosity's ambitious science goals are among the mission's many differences from earlier Mars rovers. It will use a drill and scoop at the end of its robotic arm to gather soil and powdered samples of rock interiors, then sieve and parcel out these samples into analytical laboratory instruments inside the rover. Curiosity carries 10 science instruments with a total mass 15 times as large as the science-instrument payloads on the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Some of the tools are the first of their kind on Mars, such as a laser-firing instrument for checking rocks' elemental composition from a distance, and an X-ray diffraction instrument for definitive identification of minerals in powdered samples.
To haul and wield its science payload, Curiosity is twice as long and five times as heavy as Spirit or Opportunity. Because of its one-ton mass, Curiosity is too heavy to employ airbags to cushion its landing as previous Mars rovers could. Part of the MSL spacecraft is a rocket-powered descent stage that will lower the rover on tethers as the rocket engines control the speed of descent.
The mission's landing site offers Curiosity access for driving to layers of the mountain inside Gale Crater. Observations from orbit have identified clay and sulfate minerals in the lower layers, indicating a wet history.
Precision landing maneuvers as the spacecraft flies through the Martian atmosphere before opening its parachute make Gale a safe target for the first time. This innovation shrinks the target area to less than one-fourth the size of earlier Mars landing targets. Without it, rough terrain at the edges of Curiosity's target would make the site unacceptably hazardous.
The innovations for landing a heavier spacecraft with greater precision are steps in technology development for human Mars missions. In addition, Curiosity carries an instrument for monitoring the natural radiation environment on Mars, important information for designing human Mars missions that protect astronauts' health.
The mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. NASA's Launch Services Program at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida managed the launch. NASA's Space Network provided space communication services for the launch vehicle. NASA's Deep Space Network will provide spacecraft acquisition and mission communication. United Launch Alliance, Denver, Colo., provided the Atlas V launch vehicle.
Apparently Sansa took over communications for this mission a short while after launch. Sure, it wasn't manned, but hell it's exciting nonetheless!
I do find it curious that NASA doesn't mention much of our assistance in this mission on the web page though, and neither does the Sansa site. But it doesn't matter, it's cool!
Oh, and I found a local linky but it's from Beeld in Afrikaans, so I didn't post it. News24 and all that.
A new discovery from old probes
Voyager I and II were launched in 1977, and after 33 years they are both still doing well and sending information back home. Voyager I is currently 119 AU from Earth, while Voyager II has travelled a distance of 97 AU. This means that the probes are now leaving the heliosphere.